Occupational illness and accidents can cost the economy millions of funds and, therefore, there is a need to prevent people from being harmed or becoming ill during work by providing a satisfactory working environment and taking the right precautions. This paper will explore some of the external factors that shape health and safety at work and look at how state intervention can turn around an organization failing in health and safety.
In all countries, there are legislations that guide organizations on health and safety. These legislations may undergo changes from time to time to conform to the ever-changing work place environment. Since they are legal requirements, which all organizations may be required to strictly adhere to, any changes or additions will influence the actions of an organization in regards to health and safety. Consequently, failure to conform may render them liable to prosecution. Therefore, an organization must have to constantly monitor and identify relevant legislation or requirements that may affect their policies on health and safety and adjust accordingly.
Advancement in technology that brings changes in industrial practices is another aspect that influences health and safety issues at work. These improvements bring about new ways and means of carrying out duties, which in turn present new kinds of risks that require changes in health and safety practices and policies. It is without a doubt that the organization would have to adapt so as to conform to the changes in industrial practices with regard to health and safety.
Additionally, the international labor organization is a major influence on the health and safety regulations of organizations. Dealing with labor issues mainly, international labor standards and social protections registers complaints against organizations that are violating the international rules, thereby ensuring the safety and health of its members. The organizations, therefore, acts like a watchdog monitoring to ensure employers and employees conform to health and safety standards. In this regards, the organization contributes immensely in shaping health and safety at work.
The economy plays a role in the health and safety in organizations. In countries with poor economies, it can be seen that health and safety are not taken as seriously as opposed to countries with well of economies. The same can be seen with high low-level industries as compared to high-end industries, whereby low-level industries, which are the small scale and informal industries, the concept of health and safety is non-existence or not fully embraced. Thus, when such an organization is growing it tends to embrace more the issue of health and safety. Apparently, changes in socio- economic environments within which an organization operates shapes the manner in which issues relating to health and safety are handled.
It is the duty of an organization to look at the work environment and identify the risks and hazards within the environment enabling them to come up with clear policies and guidelines on safety and health to be followed by members of the organization. It is these policies that give a clear guideline of safety precautions to be followed during the work process thereby increasing the safety standards of the organization. This should be followed by proper training and supervision of the employees.
Breach of health and safety legislation by an organization may be as a result of:- failure of the organization to provide and maintain their facilities for the safety and health of the employees at work, failure of the organization to ensure that machinery and equipment in the place of work are designed, made, set up, and maintained to be safe for employees, not having procedures to deal with emergencies when they arise at the place of work and the occurrence of illness or death of an employee that is work related (Reese, 2008).
Any of the above breaches may warrant the organization or individual responsible for prosecution or fines as per the laws of the country by state intervention. An improvement or prohibiting notice may also be issued to the organization giving a deadline for them to comply that may provide for all operations to cease during the period stated until the organization meets the required regulations.
For the organization to fully implement their health and safety policies it is important to carry out a culture change campaign so as to get the employees fully onboard. Culturally, even if an initial change occurs the employees may soon find themselves falling back to their everyday practices and habits that they were accustomed to. The environment will influence peoples acceptance and ability to take onboard the newly set regulations (Stranks, 2010). People should be encouraged to feel comfortable to speak out when they notice someone taking unnecessary risks that they end up endangering the health and safety of themselves and those around them
Ultimately, the state regulations can only do so much. The bulk of the work is with the employer and employees and for each and every individual to take health and safety issues seriously putting the safety of themselves and those around them first. Governments should also strictly enforce the laws of health and safety in work environment by bringing to book those who breach them thereby saving on loses that are incurred to the economy as a result of poor health and safety.
Reese, C. (2008). Occupational Health and Safety Management. Boca Raton: CRC press.
Stranks, J. (2010). Health and Safety at Work. London: Kogan Page publishers.
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